Child Abuse Prevention

Be an Informed Parent.

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The Parental Rights Foundation is grateful for those professionals and organizations who work to prevent child abuse and neglect. With them, we believe no one has a right to abuse or neglect a child.

Yet we would also caution that the system designed to prevent abuse and neglect can sometimes become the worst offender.

Every child abuse investigation involves intrusion into a child’s family and can have life-changing consequences. Yet, up to 83% of all investigations are ultimately concluded to have involved no abuse or neglect—only innocent families[1].

In a concurring opinion in Demaree v. Pederson, Ninth Circuit Judge Berzon added her own emphasis on the trauma that comes of removing children from their homes unnecessarily. Quoting from Rosalind Folman’s “I Was Tooken”: How Children Express Removal from Their Parents Preliminary to Placement into Foster Care (1998), Berzon wrote,

“The events of the day of placement constitute a crisis for children because everything in their lives changes and the children are overwhelmed with feelings of abandonment, rejection, worthlessness, guilt, and helplessness.”

Berzon also wrote, “Research confirms that ‘unexpectedly being snatched by the police or protective service workers traumatize[s]…children’,” citing the same source. “For small children especially,” Berzon concluded (in her own words),

“being taken from a home and family by a stranger is a profoundly frightening and destabilizing experience, even if that home and family are flawed.” [emphasis added]

This is also the point of the amicus brief which we filed recently in Doe v. Woodard.

Children must be protected from abuse and neglect. But many more children can be spared unnecessary trauma if we can protect the rights of innocent parents to lead their own families and especially to not be separated from their children without serious cause.

The best child welfare investigators know and understand this, too[2]. They know the best place for a child is with the parent if that is at all possible, and that separation is seen as a last resort. This high respect for the role of the family and the rights of parents to act as their child’s first defense is the best way to protect all children not only from maltreatment at home, but from abusive intervention by the state.

Examples of Trauma Caused from Lack of Parental Rights

"the norm has become one that will take the child and ask questions later”

Be an Informed Parent.

Please join our email list to stay informed of parental rights issues.


[1] Children’s Bureau, Child Maltreatment 2016 (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, 2018), https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/research-data-technology/statistics-research/child-maltreatment.

[2] Goldstein, Joseph, Anna Freud, and Albert Solnit, Before the Best Interest of the Child (New York: The Free Press, 1977), pp. 4-5: “We believe that a child’s need for continuity of care by autonomous parents requires acknowledging that parents should generally be entitled to raise their children as they think best, free of state interference. This conviction finds expression in our preference for minimum state intervention and prompts restraint in defining justifications for coercively intruding on family relationships….So long as a child is a member of a functioning family, his paramount interest lies in the preservation of his family.” Goldstein’s trilogy remains the gold standard for quality child welfare investigation guidelines.